The prescription drug Avodart treats an enlarged prostate by blocking a certain enzyme that is responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is responsible for enlarging the prostate. By reducing the DHT levels, Avodart helps to shrink the prostate and thereby relieve enlarged prostate symptoms. There are some off-label Avodart uses, such as treating prostate cancer after surgical removal of the prostate and treating male pattern baldness.
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Avodart® (dutasteride) is a prescription medicine that has been licensed to treat an enlarged prostate (known medically as benign prostatic hyperplasia, benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH). It can be used alone or together with tamsulosin (Flomax®), another BPH medication.
The prostate gland, located below the bladder, is part of the male reproductive system. Importantly, the urethra (the canal that takes urine out of the body) runs through the prostate.
An enlarged prostate is very common among older men. The prostate begins growing during puberty and continues to grow throughout most of adulthood. Usually, this is not a problem until men reach their 50s or 60s. When the prostate becomes too large, it can press against the urethra, causing problems with urination. Specific BPH symptoms may include: frequent urination (which is especially noticeable at night), difficulty fully emptying the bladder when urinating, and other problems.
One of the most common ways to detect an enlarged prostate is by the digital rectal exam. During a digital rectal exam, the doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the size and shape of the prostate. Some men can have a BPH diagnosis without having any symptoms.
Treatment for BPH includes "watchful waiting" (doing nothing, especially if the symptoms are not bothersome), medication, and surgery. Avodart is one of the medications used for the treatment of BPH.
(Click Avodart Alternatives for more information about other options for treating BPH.)